Albuquerque's Police Oversight Board has decided to put the heat on the Albuquerque Police Department by launching investigations into former Internal Affairs Commander Jennifer Garcia and allegations of test cheating at APD's training academy.
And, the POB, at its Aug. 9 meeting, was told that APD has dropped its Internal Affairs probe as to why police never tagged into evidence the bloody underwear of a 7-year-old girl who was allegedly being prostituted by her parents.
Both Mayor Tim Keller and Police Chief Mike Geier announced the IA probe on May 29 after saying they initially had not been given all the information regarding the case and why the underwear wasn't tagged into evidence.
But during the POB's meeting last Thursday, Ed Harness, director of the Civilian Police Oversight Agency, told board members that he had gotten a letter from APD on Aug. 3 saying that the department would let the CPOA conduct its own investigation into the case.
Harness also told POB board members that there were 20 officers who are “targets” of the CPOA probe.
The POB also decided to review APD's investigation into former Cmdr. Jennifer Garcia's wrongdoing. That probe began earlier this year when Garcia was head of APD's Internal Affairs unit. According to Geier, the investigation found that Garcia had altered and backdated some IA documents. As a result, Garcia was busted to lieutenant and moved the the Field Services Bureau.
Here is a video of the POB's votes on the Garcia and APD training academy probes. Video courtesy of Charles Arasim.
The motion to review APD's investigation into Garcia was made by POB board member Chelsea Van Deventer, an attorney and an assistant public defender in Albuquerque. ABQReport requested a copy of the investigation from APD and the city, but our Inspection of Public Records Act request was denied. ABQReport has filed a lawsuit in state District Court demanding that the city turn over investigation on Garcia.
Van Deventer also made a motion that the CPOA look into allegations of test cheating at APD's training academy. Both the independent monitor in APD's federal court reform case and the Academy's now-retired former commander John Sullivan, have suggested that test cheating might have occurred because pretty much every cadet passed their test with a 95 percent score.
In June, Sullivan told the federal court judge who is overseeing the reform case that cadets were allowed to take tests in groups and that instructors pretty told them what questions would be on their tests.
“We were doing the good-ol'-boy testing. The instructor would say, 'This could be something you might see later,' and everybody was allowed to kind of sit there and do the testing with each other and a group test environment took place,” Sullivan told U.S. District Court Judge Robert Brack on June 11 during a status conference on APS's reform case.
Less than a month after his testimony, Geier ordered Sullivan to retired. In his July 12, two-sentence resignation letter to Geier, Sullivan said, “Per your directive, I am involuntarily retiring from the City of Albuquerque without waiving rights to any legal action I may pursue in the future.”
Here's a video of the POB's vote on the training academy probe: